E2 road safety petition

On 4th May cyclist Ninian Fraser Donald was killed by a lorry at the junction of Whiston Road and Kingsland Road.

Local resident and Kingsland TRA Chair Anna Maria Mari has drawn up a petition calling for safety improvements at the junction.

It can be found at the bar in the Old King John’s Head pub on Whiston Road. If you are passing please pop in to sign it.

Hypocritical reception on the town hall steps

The following article was sent to Hackney Independent. The author wished to remain anonymous:

If you were walking past Hackney Town Hall a couple of weeks ago you may well have noticed a protest being held by London Field residents over the erection of a phone mast by T mobile in the Richmond Road area.
Back in 2004 the Council failed to respond to or reject a planning application from the company to build the mast and as such T-mobile exploited planning laws by deciding to go ahead with their plans at the end of April.
Protesters gathering on the Town Hall steps were delighted when Labour Chief, Jules Pipe addressed them stating, ‘T-mobile should do the honourable thing and not go near London Fields.’
Considering the concerns over the possible health implications of placing radiation emitting devices close to busy public areas I think that we would all agree with the sentiment of Mayor Pipe and his apparent resolute stand against such developments!
However I was recently on the 55 bus passing through Lower Clapton and to my surprise I noticed a new mast, situated on top of a portacabin, between Mildenhall and Atherden Road.
The top of the aerial is almost level with the top deck of a bus and in heavy traffic passengers are presented with a safety sign on the mast itself which rather alarmingly alerts readers;
You have plenty of time to read the sign as you sit in rush hour traffic adjacent to the microwaves and the new flats which they front.
It struck me on observing the demonstration by residents from the recently gentrified Martello Street and surrounds that Mr Pipe appeared to be saying one thing and doing another.
Appeasing the middle class residents of the ex-squatted, Class War heartlands whilst on the other hand apparently ignoring the carcinogenic pulses of masts in Lower Clapton, one of Hackney’s more run down areas populated in the majority by working class people.
On further investigation it seems that Hackney is covered in ‘base stations’. Indeed in Clapton alone there are many, including four on the Lea Bridge Roundabout (at least two on top of the B-Six sixth form college), two on the Pembury Estate and two on buildings around the Downs.
Furthermore there are at least seven on Mare Street, two on top of the Trelawny Estate and loads in Dalston.
It would seem that the only real ‘reception black spot’ in Hackney is the London Fields area and although I do not take issue with those expressing their rights to demonstrate on that sunny day in April I do take issue with the cynical and ill informed approach of a Mayor who has been leading the council for the last 11 years during which time mobile phone masts have been springing up all over the place, on schools and Council blocks throughout the Borough.
If the Mayor, who exclaimed that T-mobile had ‘no moral right’ to build the mast in London fields, feels so strongly about their erection then perhaps he should examine the Council’s income to see how much the Borough makes from renting out their building’s rooftops to phone companies.
If readers feel the need to contact him to express their concern at his apparent hypocrisy may I suggest that they ring from Lower Clapton I understand that the coverage there is excellent!!!

20 and still not out

by James Ballhatchett

After the reckless demolition of the Laburnum Primary School on Laburnum Street in September/November of last year to create another Blairite City academy, the after effects are still being felt by residents of Laburnum Court after a mass invasion of mice fleeing the wreckage to lay their new home in our homes.

In one flat (flat 3) alone 20 mice have been caught since November and no. 20 arrived Wednesday 13th of September.

The case has been looked upon by the Hackney Council but all they can do is deliver an endless supply of mouse traps and say ‘what else can we do’.

After the reported drive by the council to supply us with decent ‘Hackney Homes’ we ask ‘where is the evidence?’

Here is the evidence of the mice:

The Shameful Story of Haggerston Swimming Pool

When Haggerston Baths was closed without notice in February 2000, the local Labour Party circulated a leaflet (a rare occurrence outside of an election) reassuring residents that the pool would be reopened in six months. Shortly afterwards Labour took full control of Hackney Council, but the pool remains closed.

The Council’s given reason for shutting the pool was based on health and safety concerns requiring some £300,000 to remedy. Today, estimates for the cost of reopening the pool exceed £20 million.

Other related sums of interest are:

£50 million!

The anticipated costs of reopening Clissold Leisure Centre by Summer 2007, now closed for two and a half years following shoddy building work and contract mismanagement.

£34 million!

The anticipated cost of the Bridge Academy on the now-derelict site of the once popular Laburnum School. This is £8 million in excess of original estimates.

In February 2000 the Council claimed not to have the £300,000 necessary to undertake Health & Safety repairs, yet there appears to always be plenty of money for doomed and unpopular projects.

Hackney takes a dive…

Hackney currently has only one public swimming pool (Kings Hall recently damaged by fire). Estimates based on Sport England criteria demonstrate that Hackney should have six or seven for its population.

In the run up to the Olympics in 2012 and all the associated hoo-hah it’s a disgrace that over the last two decades Hackney Council has actually been closing pools (six since 1988). The consequences for health and education are obvious. Despite the requirements established in the national curriculum, primary school children in Hackney are unable to learn to swim here.

The future? Don’t trust Labour…

At a People’s Consultation meeting organised by the Haggerston Pool Campaign in January 2006, Labour’s cabinet member for Community Services (Cllr Nargis Khan) promised unequivocally that they were committed to the reopening of Haggerston Pool. However, promises are cheap. And there’s usually a catch.

The council have recently been debating their preferred options for Haggerston Baths. By far the better of the three is for a swimming pool and GP surgery. The remaining options include housing on the site. In February 2006 the cabinet agreed to back Option 1 (with the GP surgery) but added that housing should not be excluded from these plans.

Hackney Independent says housing should definitely be excluded from these plans. The results of our survey work, conducted on local housing estates in the years since the closure of the pool show that the vast majority want the building reopened as a public swimming pool at affordable prices.

There are enough private flats being built in the area already. The redevelopment of the Haggerston West and Kingsland Estates sees increasingly more being planned. If the council can find the money to waste on Clissold and City Academies, it can find the money to reopen Haggerston Baths as a public swimming pool.


Report: Advice Session

Last week’s advice session on the Geffrye Estate was well attended. Local people came along with a number of issues – all of which related to repairs. In case after case people had reported problems to the Council, after which nothing had happened. Hackney IWCA will be pursuing this directly with the Council.

letter in Hackney Gazette (August 2004)

Dear editor

The residents in the vicinity of the proposed mobile-phone mast in Shepherdess Walk and Sturt Street, Shoreditch, are to be congratulated for making a stand against T-mobile and Hackney Council.

It comes as no surprise that T-mobile is denying that mast radiation poses a risk to public health; and no surprise that Hackney Council is – once again – denying that it is guilty of poor administration. In both cases the script is only too predictable.

Incidentally, I would advise the residents in Shoreditch to ask Jules Pipe if he is prepared to intervene on their behalf. I recall that he pledged to stand shoulder to shoulder on the picket line with the residents of Hawksley Court when they physically blocked a phone company from erecting a mast on their estate two years ago. This was, of course, during his election campaign to become Hackney’s Labour mayor. Is he still prepared to man the barricades, I wonder?

Carl Taylor
Hackney Independent Working Class Association

Summer newsletter published

  • Labour closed Laburnum School
  • Privatisation of St Mary’s estate
  • Street Lighting campaign
  • Olympics
  • More!

Hackney Independent, Summer 2003 issue (pdf format)

More newsletters

Light Up Shoreditch

Hackney IWCA (Hackney Independent as of summer 2004) has launched a campaign in Shoreditch to pressure the council to prioritise working class areas for improved street lighting.

Jules Pipe – Hackney’s New Labour mayor – has pledged to improve lighting throughout the Borough as a key part of his anti-crime strategy.Hackney IWCA spokesperson Carl Taylor said:

 “One of our criticisms of the Mayor is that we do not believe he will ask the council to prioritise those areas that need most improvement, working class areas of the Borough where crime and anti-social behaviour, and the fear of it, is the top priority for tenants and residents.”

This has been borne out by a street survey carried out with local residents recently – in a small dark, area of Haggerston ward – where 14 street lamps were discovered to be out of order. They have been reported to the council.

The Light Up Shoreditch! campaign seeks to encourage Shoreditch tenants and residents to join in demanding the council takes action now.

But in launching the campaign, Hackney Independent also attacked the limitations of the council’s own anti-crime strategy.

IWCA supporters putting the spotlight on lighting

IWCA supporters putting the spotlight on lighting

“Jules Pipe has made improved street lighting the core plank of his anti-crime strategy. We think that is pulling the wool over people’s eyes. In Shoreditch – and across Hackney – a large number of community facilities have had their funding cut or been closed. Restoring access to these facilities for young people will do far more in the fight against crime than changing a few light bulbs. We recognise that better street lighting can help reduce crime, but we won’t be fooled into thinking it should be the core part of the council’s strategy,” Carl Taylor added.


Kingsland Estate rubbish piles up 2 weeks after the strike ends.

According to the Council the bins were “full but not overflowing”. Rubbish!

Winter 2002 Newsletter


How many councillors does it take to change a lightbulb?

The IWCA survey in Haggerston last year proved what everybody knows: that crime and anti-social behaviour is the biggest single issue in the ward. If you have not been directly affected by crime then it has probably affected one of your friends or family. This isn¹t whipping up the fear of crime ­ this is how we are living.

Tony Blair famously said that a New Labour government would be “tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime.” Recently a series of measures to punish the perpetrators of anti-social behaviour was unveiled. But much of this is like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

How can Labour seriously claim to be tough on the causes of crime in inner-city areas like Hackney when its local councils are cutting the resources that we depend on to ensure that young people don¹t get involved in crime in the first place?

This is not to excuse anti-social behaviour. Muggings, assaults and lesser offences make our lives a misery and should not be tolerated. But any serious solution must recognise that without access to real opportunities some young people will start to offend.

In the current issue of Hackney Today our New Labour mayor tells us that the solution to tackling crime is “by fixing or upgrading street lights and putting in CCTV in high crime areas”. This really is an insult to our intelligence. It is not just that CCTV does hardly anything to reduce crime (as government reports acknowledge). It is that New Labour also presides over the slashing of resources that would go some way to preventing young people involving themselves in crime. You just have to turn the page to see how this is happening in Haggerston.

Hackney Council cuts are causing crime.

Improved street and estate lighting would not solve all our problems but we do know that muggers prefer to operate in the dark and reports show that lighting can be an effective way of reducing criminal activity. The mayor says he wants to improve street lighting. However we don¹t believe that Labour will prioritise working class areas.

That¹s why the IWCA is launching a campaign to improve the lighting in this area. It will be the main subject at the ward meeting in December. (see box below). Come along and support the campaign. We will be contacting every tenant and community group, as well as the schools, asking for their support.

And we need to hear from you. We want you to call and tell us the blocks where the lights haven¹t been working, where the darkest spots are, and if you want to help with the campaign. You can leave a message on 7684 1743.

Together we can force this council to fulfil its responsibilities ­ by lighting up Shoreditch.

Haggerston News Updates


We reported in the last issue of this newsletter, that the Haggerston One O¹Clock Club, which is based in Haggerston Park, was due to close next year ­ due to having it¹s funding withdrawn.

The good news ­ Hackney Council has given it another year¹s funding. The bad news ­ What will happen to this valuable local service, if it can¹t get funding after that ?

We have consistently stated that Hackney Council should fulfil its obligations and fund groups like this, for the long term. Otherwise how can they plan for the future, and look to expand on and improve the services they currently offer ­ if they are continually victim to this short-term funding mentality ?

Ok, they may be able to get money from the central government Sure Start initiative (which is aimed at families with children 0-4 years of age), but this will not run for ever, and again it lets the council off the hook.

These alternative funding regimes are all well and good, but more often than not they are used to fill gaps in the existing services, rather than improve and provide new ones, which is what they are supposedly intended for ­ where¹s the logic in that ?


Mixed news from the Apples and Pears adventure playground. Earlier this year the IWCA backed the parents¹ campaign to stop the Council selling off their site for a housing development. The Council dropped these plans, but then has tried a new way of forcing Apples and Pears off the site ­ by bringing in a high rent and cutting their grant.

The Council tried to get a £1000 a year rent, with a review after two years. Bear in mid that until now there was no rent to pay ­ and why should there?

The Apples and Pears went to court and got a new seven year lease with no rent review. Bu they still need to raise the £1000 rent each year.

The Council was trying to get the Apples and Pears to run on a grant of £10,000 for 6 months. Through campaigning the parents got this increased to £20,000. This might seem like a victory ­ but again bear in mind that they used to get £40,000 for 6 months ­ so it is actually a cut of 50% – and the council want them to keep opening for the same hours for this money.

The IWCA supports the parents and believes the Council should bring back the full £80,000 a year grant, stop charging them rent and look to give further one-off grants to improve the facilities.


During the Mayoral elections the Haggerston Pool Campaign called a meeting for all Mayor candidates to ask their views. Only one candidate did not promise to re-open the Pool.

You¹ve guessed it ­ Labour¹s Jules Pipe. He then got elected as Mayor ­ with 10% of the vote.

The New Deal (or “Shoreditch Our Way”) continue to push the proposal to put private flats into Haggerston Pool. This issue was discussed at the New Deal¹s Area 4 Forum ­ covering all the estates around the Pool like St Mary¹s, Kingsland and Fellows Court. The Forum voted against the plan for private flats. What was the response of £65,000 a year New Deal Director Michael Pyner? “I¹m ruling nothing out.”

And they keep telling us that the New Deal is community-led. Community mis-led more like. The IWCA will continue to fight along with the wider community to re-open Haggerston Pool with no private flats on the site.


IWCA members toured every estate in Haggerston one week after the bin strike and found that many were still suffering the effects. Yet our inspection of surrounding street properties found no major problems. Lets be clear – we have no problem with Bin workers striking for more pay. The issue here is that yet again the council has put the maintenance of estates second.

“It was no surprise to us that the Council had left the estates till last as usual, while putting the needs of those in big houses around London Fields first. After all that¹s where the Labour vote is these days” stated the IWCA¹s Carl Taylor in the Hackney Gazette (November 21st).

“IWCA policy is that the estates should be cleared first. This is not just because we always put the needs of the working class first. It also makes sense to us that if 40 flats share one communal bin area you clear that before someone who has their own front and back garden and has a chance of managing their own rubbish.”

Kingsland Estate Tenant & Resident Association Chair Anna Maria Mari echoed the IWCA position. Standing with IWCA members and Kingsland Estate residents by a pile of rubbish that had piled up over the previous two weeks, she stated “We¹ve had enough. We¹re fed up with being at the end of the line. The Council isn¹t managing our estate properly. We¹re considering managing it ourselves.”

Margaret McTernan, pictured with her children Shannon and Sean McCarton said she thought that it was “disgusting” that the rubbish had been left for so long.

The IWCA¹s Peter Sutton said it was ” a disgrace and a health risk” that the Council had left the huge pile of rubbish at Hebden Court, Kingsland Estate. While this was the worst case, estates across the Ward were left with piles of rubbish. Peter criticised the local Labour councillors, “The IWCA may have narrowly lost the election in Haggerston to Labour, but where are our Labour councillors now? We¹re the ones going around the Ward, taking up local issues and campaigning alongside the community. What did Haggerston¹s Labour councillors do about the Council¹s failure to clear the rubbish from our estates?”

After pressure from residents, the tenant association, the IWCA and an article in the Gazette, the Council finally cleared the rubbish 13 days after the strike ended.

Hawksley 2 Orange 0

The ever-vigilant residents of Hawksley Court Estate, in Albion Road, Stoke Newington, have been out on the streets again.

This time, they have managed to prevent contractors on 2 occasions from gaining access to the estate to erect a mobile telephone mast for Orange. On the last successful blockade a few weeks ago, residents waved placards with the clear message “Hawksley 2 ­ Orange 0”.

Unfortunately, the new Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe, has decided to get in on the act, and showed his face on one of the blockades. Full of bluff and bluster, he issued a statement saying, “Once again I call on Orange to take the moral course of action and not enforce this contract. Otherwise I will be joining local residents in physically seeking to prevent them from getting onto the estate”.

He also goes on to add that the council “MISTAKENLY” signed the contract, which allowed companies like Orange and BT to install these masts on a number of housing estates across the borough. We would argue that Hackney Council “DELIBERATELY” signed these contracts, because it was desperate to get it¹s hands on the few thousands of pounds being offered by these companies, to install these masts on council property. Also, if it means a few working-class people getting ill due to the radiation that comes from them ­ who cares ­ certainly not the likes of Jules Pipe.

Finally, if Orange and the other mobile phone companies are to be permanently prevented from carrying out these installations, it will be down to the hard work and organisation of residents on this and other Hackney estates ­ not a few fine words from the new Mayor of Hackney.


No sooner was New Labour leader Jules Pipe elected as Hackney¹s Mayor than we hear of plans to start charging “market rents” for using the borough’s community halls. The impact this will have on groups who use the borough’s rooms and halls ­ whether for keep fit for pensioners or martial arts for youngsters, prayer meetings or line-dancing ­ is predictable. A lot of very ordinary but worthwhile activities will stop altogether if participants cannot afford to shell out.

A special case has been made for political or lobbying groups; they will not be able to use the halls AT ALL whether they can afford to or not. The IWCA uses halls and rooms in Haggerston and Hoxton to run benefit and housing surgeries for tenants and residents and local residents have made use of community halls to organise campaigns protesting against the council¹s inaction over abandoned cars or the closure of Laburnum school.

If Labour’s proposals go through they will have put another significant barrier in the way of people who want to organise to resist cuts and campaign for improved local services.

If you use a community hall for any activity and want to know how this will affect you then contact the council and ask them. Let us know what response you got by leaving a message on 020 7684 1743 letting us know what group you are from and which hall/room you use.

We almost forgot to tell you…

Stuart Craft became the IWCA’s first councillor, when he was elected to represent the Blackbird Leys Estate, on the outskirts of Oxford.

There were also very good results for our other candidates who stood in Islington and Havering. On average we gained over 25% of the vote in every area the IWCA stood.

Hackney IWCA election candidate, Peter Sutton, said, “This was a great result in Oxford, and the IWCA in Hackney and the other areas will be looking to build on this success in the 2006 elections”.

He went on to add, “We are now concentrating our efforts on getting more local residents involved in the organisation, because the bigger we are, the more effective we can and need to be, in this area. So, if you like what you read in this newsletter, and you think things need to change for working-class people in Haggerston, please get in touch with us.”


The victory of the Labour candidate, Jules Pipe, in Hackney’s mayoral election now gives them a 33 seat council majority, two MPs and a national Government. Hackney ­ or what is left after large parts of it have been handed over to a series of unelected bodies – is now completely under Labour control. Years of incompetence and corruption have led to the borough being massively in debt. One of the solutions to this problem has been to brutally cut and privatise services. Almost no area has been left untouched, apart of course from the salaries of senior council staff such as Chief Executive Max Caller and his councillor chums. (The latest kick in the teeth is the revelation that councillor salaries are set to soar.)

One other solution, part of the council’s long term plan for the borough, is to replace the working class majority with a higher earning and higher spending middle class. Fewer undesirable working class people means the council has to provide less of the services these undesirables use: nurseries, health care, school places, council housing. This social cleansing of Hackney’s most deprived areas is the reality behind all the talk about regeneration and New Deals.

Every public service in Hackney ­ like many at a national level ­ has been looked at closely with an eye to privatisation, excepting those that have already been closed down or those that cannot yet be legally farmed out to the private sector. For example, in a Council press release entitled “Exciting Improvements to Hackney Leisure Centres”, Labour outline the handing over of parts of Kings Hall and Britannia leisure centres to company Leisure Connection to turn them into private fitness clubs. We are assured that this will provide an “affordable fitness solution”. But as the IWCA asked in a recent letter to the Hackney Gazette: “Are prices going to be affordable to all sections of our community”?

In Shoreditch we have seen Haggerston Pool close with no commitment from Labour to reopen it. Local facilities are constantly under threat of grant cuts or closure. The extension of the privatisation of housing management and the stock transfer of whole estates hangs over the area. Public land is being auctioned off ­ sometimes at give-away prices ­ for developers to build yuppie flats.

Prior to the elections in May, Labour had very little to say about their plans for cuts and sell-offs.

Perhaps if they had been honest about what the council was going to do with Apples & Pears and Laburnum School our three Labour councillors would not have been elected. But of course, the Lib-Dems and the Tories are no better. The Tories¹ national record and the Lib-Dems¹ privatisation of neighbouring Islington¹s council services provides more than enough evidence of what their agenda¹s really are.

The IWCA is the real opposition to Labour in Haggerston. We came close to taking at least one of their seats in the May elections having said very clearly that we supported the campaign to reopen Haggerston Pool and opposed cuts in local services.

The IWCA’s priorities for Shoreditch could not be more different to New Labour’s. Our concern is for the ordinary people of this area ­ where we live and how we are living ­ not to try to solve our problems by either pretending they don’t exist or farming off much-needed facilities to the private sector.